30 August 2011


Teachers are expected to mould the young society into a better tomorrow yet they rank low when it comes to their salaries.
It has been noted that in some affluent homes, a housemaid, who looks after less than three children earns more than a teacher here in Uganda and despite Uganda being a role model in education and a preferred destination for students in the region, its teachers are among the worst paid in the region.

In 2009, Kenyan teachers organised a strike, which saw most of the schools close down. The government promised to increase the teachers’ salaries gradually.

Rwanda has put in place measures to motivate teachers, including building teachers’ quarters for respective schools. There have been cases of teachers moving to Rwanda because their counterparts there are paid better and besides teaching in other countries, some teachers have abandoned the profession in search of greener pastures. For instance there are teachers that have left teaching to go and work as security guards in Iraq because they were unable to sustain their families.

Good remuneration checks teacher absenteeism in schools plus the quality of education being delivered. Teacher absenteeism remains a big challenge, especially in the rural areas. The main cause of absenteeism is the urge by teachers to engage in private work and farming during school time.

In many cases the salaries given to the teachers is not enough given the fact that they have a high number of dependants, forcing teachers to run businesses to supplement their income. Another major cause is sickness and the long distances teachers walk to get to their working stations.

You find that teachers will always be kept in the same position given the current economic trends; the teachers will be still faced with high transportation costs, escalating food prices and expensive accommodation. Teachers can hardly invest in things like houses and businesses, which are supposed to improve their standards of living.

There has always been need to focus on long-term strategies that would ensure teachers have sustainable income, and make them less dependant only on their meager salaries. For instance invest in entrepreneurship projects that can better the lives of these teachers.
Some teachers have skills and can get involved in activities like writing books, making uniforms for the school and planting crops, which they can sell.

There is need to focus on the issues that are making the teachers demand for more pay. Initiatives like investing in accommodation for teachers, given that the teachers are complaining of high transport and rent, need be sought out. Also if opportunity allows, teacher’s lives could be made better by providing bursaries and scholarships for their children in higher education institutions.

When the teachers are within our schools, they are like our children; we have to devise ways of not failing to look after them.
The school’s budget needs to have provisions for caring for these issues,although in many cases it doesnot


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